by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – A pair of shutouts from Madelyn Carlson and another excellent day at the plate from Chelsey Hayes led the Whitworth Pirates in a pair of 8-0 wins over the Willamette Bearcats in a Northwest Conference doubleheader on Sunday afternoon.
The victories push the Bucs' (16-8, 9-3 NWC) win streak out to eight games and set up a pair of Northwest Conference showdowns next week with George Fox and Linfield. Willamette fell to 3-14 overall and 3-11 in the NWC.
Hayes went 3-6 with 5 RBIs to lead the Bucs at the plate. Kinsey McNaught set up many of those RBIs, going 5-6 with 5 runs.
Game 1: Whitworth 8, Willamette 0 (5 innings)
Hayes drove in three runs to lead Whitworth to a mercy rule victory in the first game of the doubleheader.
The Bucs jumped on the board early with four runs in the first inning. Kinsey McNaught singled with one out advanced on a wild pitch. Hayes doubled in McNaught on the next pitch to open the scoring. Then, with runners on second and third after a fielder's choice and wild pitch, Michelle Silva doubled to right-center, scoring Hayes and Sara Gayer. Natalie Edlin finished up the scoring when she drove in Silva with a single.
Gayer tacked on another run in the second inning when she doubled in McNaught, who was hit by a pitch before stealing second base. The freshman's double extended the Pirates' lead to 5-0.
Whitworth put the game away with three runs in the third inning. McNaught opened the scoring by doubling home Desi Graham and Hayes finished it with a single that scored McNaught and Morgan Portlock, giving the Bucs the eight-run margin needed to put the mercy rule into effect.
Carlson (11-3) didn't have her best stuff in the circle, but made it work for her fifth shutout of the season. The freshman walked five batters, but only allowed two hits to hold the Bearcats scoreless.
Game 2: Whitworth 8, Willamette 0 (5 innings)
Carlson was back on her game in the nightcap, allowing just three baserunners in her sixth shutout of the season.
She was aided by a Pirate offense, led by McNaught and Kaylie Lowery, that put up eight runs in the first two innings, setting up the mercy-rule win.
Lowery set up the offensive outburst in the first inning when she singled and raced around to third when McNaught singled as well. Hayes followed by driving in Lowery on a sacrifice fly. Later in the inning, McNaught scored when Silva stole second with two outs. Kelsey Downey then drove in Silva with a double to give Whitworth a 3-0 after one frame.
The Pirate offense continued to hum in the second inning. With runners on first and second, McNaught drove a one-out double into left-center field, scoring Lowery and Allie Rude. Hayes then sliced a double to the same spot, knocking in McNaught. Silva finished off Whitworth's scoring when she tripled to right field and came all the way around to score on an error by the right fielder. After the five-run inning, Whitworth held the 8-0 advantage it finished the game with.
Looking Ahead: The Pirates hit the road to take on George Fox on March 28 in a pair of games that were rescheduled due to rain when the teams were scheduled to play in February. Then, the Bucs return home to battle Linfield in a four game series on March 30-31.